11 October 2017
A New Challenge
Indonesian professional golf has a newcomer who is ready to enliven the competition on the national golf circuit. Armed with talent, he’s already managed to penetrate into the Indonesian Order of Merit, surpassing some of his seniors, in just a few appearances.
Since June, Elki Kow has held a new status. The 24-year-old player made the switch from amateur to professional. This new status has aroused Elki's spirit which had almost been extinguished due to several factors. Elki admitted that he was considering quitting golf altogether after losing motivation to play in amateur tournaments over the last two to three years.
Elki’s turnaround in enthusiasm now that he’s on the professional path can be seen by his achievements. In just three tournaments he’s made two Top 5 finishes. In the middle of August, along with five of his fellow countrymen, he gained his Philippine Golf Tour Asia card. Not bad for a player who’s just starting his professional career in the middle of the season.
What’s your story about how you began to play golf?
I started to play golf when I was 11. I really didn’t enjoy golf. It might have been because my handicap was big at that time. I reached 12 handicap when I was at junior high school. Then I met Mr. Dede (Idris), a teaching pro from Gading Golf Driving Range; he taught me the basics of golf. In three months, my handicap was down to 7. It made me become more serious about my golf, and my skills developed. When I started to gain a few golf achievements, I joined the junior national golf team and other golf teams, including Jakarta Capital Special Region team for the National Games.
Did you play any other sports when you were young?
I loved to play football. However, my parents asked me to pursue golf rather than football.
You are known for often taking part in team categories. What do you feel you get from playing in a team?
Golf is actually an individual sport. However, there are several golf game formats that require teamwork. I learned to work together. There are some players who match me, some do not. For example, me and Bobby (Cahyo Adhitomo), we have been a team in Jakarta Capital Special Region since the 2012 National Games. Even though we didn’t get a medal, we have a chemistry between us. We understand each other. Then, in the 2016 National Games, our bond paid off: we won gold in the foursome game.
You studied abroad in the United States. How did you find playing golf there?
Golf was one of my purposes of going to study abroad. I wanted to play in more golf competitions there. However, I didn’t really enjoy my golf at college much.
Why was that?
I didn’t get the golf atmosphere I expected while on my college team. I just enjoyed my own golf in my first year. Therefore, when I was playing for my college team, I played a lot worse. It was different when I was playing in a singles match - my games were good. That’s why I focused more on my studies. In the final year of college, after the 2016 National Games in September, I didn’t make it to the team so my opportunity to play in golf competitions was limited. Golf teams attend most of the tournaments. The situation made me so frustrated and it affected my golf game. That's when I started to think about quitting golf.
Yet, in June you played in the 5th Series of the IGT and placed 3rd. So, what changed?
When I returned to Indonesia after graduating last May, I met Bobby and Clement (Kurniawan). After we exchanged thoughts, I decided to give myself one year to see whether my golf game would improve or not. That’s reason I played in the IGT. However, I played as a professional since I didn’t want to play as an amateur anymore.
So, how have you felt about your golf so far after turning pro?
I’ve started to get excited again because there's a new challenge. My confidence has risen again. I’ve prepared some targets for the next two years. I’m targeting being in the top five on the Indonesian Golf Tour, to attend Asian Tour Qualifying School, and Q-School on several PGA Tours.